Alcatel POP4 10 review: an Android laptop masquerading as a tablet

Alcatel is a company that has made its name in the European and American markets but has yet to make a mark in India. The company has certainly brought some of its best devices to India, but they haven’t been able to reach the masses. Well, this time they bring a few tablets and the one that leads the pack excites me. The Alcatel Pop4 10 is a well-built 2-in-1 Tablet that can convert into a Laptop with the included keyboard and costs just as much as a super budget Android phone. So without further delay, let’s take a detailed look at the Alcatel Pop4 10.

Alcatel Pop4 10: design 

As a tablet:

 The Alcatel Pop4 10 is a very well designed tablet. The in-hand feel of the tablet is impressive while many OEMs neglect it. A lot of tablets end up having sharp edges and uneven weight distribution making them uncomfortable to hold. The Pop4 10 has very well built curves all around. If you ever get into hardware design, you’ll realize that these curves are more complex than what a standard device would have and that makes it very comfortable to hold as well.
It is clearly way too big to hold in one hand, but surfing the internet, watching videos etc, all felt comfortable on this thing. The body is almost completely plastic but it is still one of the best implementations of plastic and it feels as sturdy as a metal device. The buttons are clicky and well shaped too, but they are in positions where accidental clicks happen very often.
Due to the symmetrical build and the complete 180deg auto-rotate, at times I didn’t realize that I was holding it upside down. The only time I realized that was when I couldn’t find the buttons on the right side. Now that’s something that happened to me a lot, it’s neither negative nor positive, so take it as you may.

As a laptop:

Using it as a laptop, the ergonomics of the tablet don’t matter as much as that of the keyboard. The keyboard is a total departure from the tablet in a lot of ways with sharper edges and a slightly different texture, but I actually like it a lot. It’s a light piece of tech but at the same time is extremely sturdy.
One of the reasons why Surface Pro or the iPad Pro are difficult to use as a laptop is that they are relatively flimsier and can’t stay put on a lap, but this one can. The base is also very smooth with four rubber feet which prevent it from moving on a surface. The keys are also well built. It’s a cramped keyboard, but I got used to typing on it very soon. Honestly, I am impressed by the build quality of this whole thing.
Plus carrying it around is the most comfortable thing to do, and it doesn’t feel like you have something in your hands.

Alcatel Pop4 10: display 

As a tablet:

The Alcatel Pop4 10 boasts a 10.1-inch display and it is gorgeous. It’s an LCD display at Full-HD resolution and it looks impressive. The colours look good and the sharpness is on point. Looking at the price I was a bit sceptical and expected to see maybe a 720p or even VGA panel but to my utter surprise, we get a FULL-HD IPS LCD panel. 
This is an even bigger surprise because there are very few phones that offer a Full-HD display at this price and their displays are also smaller. I seriously applaud Alcatel for including such a large and high res display on the Pop4 10. Everything is just fun on this big display. 
Watching videos, surfing on Facebook, and Instagram is just another experience. I would advise you to stay away if you are prone to addiction because this thing will suck you in. There are, however, a few tiny issues, for instance, the display looks a little warm when compared to other panels and the brightness is a bit on the lower side. Apart from that, I think the Pop4 10 has probably one of the best displays on any device (smartphones included) under Rs 20,000

As a laptop: 

This thing attracts fingerprints like crazy. Using it as a laptop you’d think that won’t happen, but you end up touching the screen to navigate and hence making it look dirty all the time. Also, the keyboard doesn’t scratch the screen, for there is a lip for protection. However, it does get a lot of dust inside, and if you live in a country like India which is generally a dusty place, this might become annoying at times.

 Alcatel Pop4 10 Software:

 As a tablet: 

The Software on the Pop4 10 gives a clean and minimal experience with a touch of Alcatel. It feels snappy and there are just a few apps that it comes pre-loaded with which again are non-intrusive. It even runs the stock Google launcher and runs extremely well.
Alcatel Pop4 10 Software
The landscape orientation is also done appropriately, barring a few apps like Instagram and Creator Studio which don’t work in the landscape mode at all. Also, the auto rotate animation is also amazing and by default, it auto-rotates till 180 deg as I mentioned earlier. This is good because now you don’t have to worry about holding it in the wrong orientation.
However, there are a few things that are missing here. The UI is a bit too simple and I would’ve loved to see a few tablet/ laptop specific customization inside. Another small gripe is that it still runs Android Marshmallow. Apart from the fact that it’s a two-year-old android version, it is just one version below android Nougat which brought multi-window or split-window to the platform.
Being a 10.1-inch device, multi-window is a very important feature and would have made the tablet more productive. However, we don’t get that here and there are no promises from the company on the updates too. Alcatel is looking at it as an entertainment or educational device, but it still would’ve been better if it came with at least Android Nougat. 

As a laptop:

First of all, you’ll have to touch the screen to navigate easily. You can do that with the keyboard but it just doesn’t work that well. Plus you can only connect one Bluetooth device to it and Keyboard is already connected so if you want to connect a Bluetooth mouse you can’t unless you let go of the keyboard. If you have to do it then you could use an OTG connector with a dongle.
Performance Laptop
Could you use it as a laptop? Well, you definitely can. There are millions of apps in the Play Store which will let you use it as a laptop. You even get the whole Microsoft Office suite or Google’s suite. it comes pre-loaded with WPS office so you can really work things out here. It is not the most natural, but you’ll get used to it quickly. For power users who need to run full desktop apps and play games all day, this is not the ideal device. JHowever, for a daily user, who just wants to check emails, write a few, do regular stuff and require an extremely compact and light laptop, this might just be it.

Alcatel Pop4 10: performance

As a tablet

Well, the Pop4 10 is built around media consumption and education which work extremely well on this device. The apps open easily and there is very less lag, for we have a clean software running on top. While the RAM is only 2GB, the near stock OS makes things run very smoothly. Talking about games, it isn’t exactly build to play heavy games, but light to medium games run pretty smoothly, and on the bigger screen it is a crazy experience. 

As a laptop:

Its performance as a laptop is a bit of a mixed bag. It is smooth for everyday performance but I felt a little lag while using the keyboard. Typing was obviously enjoyable, but there were times when it just lagged and weirdly enough, certain actions like the Power-off switch or opening up the keyboard had tiny delays, while a few others worked better. Another thing is that you can lock the device using the keyboard, but it doesn’t work when you have to turn it on. Apart from this, the experience is good enough. I tried to play a few games on it, while the small ones like Candy Crush ran well, games like Asphalt saw a lot of dropped frames. This machine is definitely not built for gaming, but it can handle the occasional gaming well. Overall for a tablet or laptop at this price the performance is surprisingly good. 

Alcatel Pop4 10: camera

As a tablet and as a laptop

Well let me say it for both aspects of it, the camera should not be the reason you buy this. You get an average looking camera on the front which is what most people who buy this are going to use. The back camera is actually better than the front camera which doesn’t make sense to me because I never used that one.
If there wasn’t a back camera at all, the experience would’ve been the same, but sadly I understand that a lot of us don’t look at it that way and while we might never use it, we still want it to be there.

Alcatel Pop4 10: battery

As a tablet

Coming to one of the most important parts of a tablet experience, the battery is above average. There is a 5000mAh battery inside which isn’t exactly the biggest battery for such a large device, but looking at how thin this is, I think they did a good job. The huge display is a big battery drawer and while you don’t have a power hungry processor, it just doesn’t last for a very long time. If you think of it as a phone competitor then the battery life is nothing to boast about.

As a Laptop:

However, as a laptop, I think the POP4 10 does well enough. I would’ve liked to see the keyboard and tablet have some kind of electronic connection which would’ve given them a shared battery life. Because while the POP4 10’s battery life didn’t impress me, the Bluetooth keyboard’s did. I haven’t charged it once in the last one month. 

Alcatel Pop4 10: price and conclusion

Well, as a tablet the Pop4 10 is a good buy. I wouldn’t suggest you buy it as your primary smartphone, because it isn’t the easiest thing to carry around, but as a secondary device for media consumption, checking out emails, looking at pictures etc. It’s a good option to buy at just Rs 10,999.
And if you just put in Rs 20,00 extra and take the Rs 12,999 version instead, you could get yourself a fairly reliable Android laptop.
So, what do you think? Would you like to buy the Alcatel Pop4 10? Let us know in the comments section below. Stay tuned to  Mr. Phone and download our app to get the latest updates from the world of smartphone technology.
Watch the full review of this tablet in a video here:  

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Sreehari is in love; in love with technology. His enthusiasm for new gadgets can be seen in his videos. He single-handedly built Mr. Phone's YouTube channel and continues to persevere with Nitesh in making world-class tech videos. Sree - as everyone calls him affectionately - is also a big fan of Artificial Intelligence and Industrial Design. If he is not working on gadget reviews, Sree is a trained Carnatic singer. When you meet him, do to request for his rendition of Kabira by Arijit Singh.